My first Nick/Mandy story set after 'Crime After Crime.' Reviews would be awesome!

Taste Of Loneliness

"I don't know what you want me to do!"

"Why don't you try letting me in? Let me take care of you!"

"Just forget it, I'll be home later."

He lifts his glass to his lips, letting the fiery liquid slide down his throat, not even noticing the burn that accompanies it. It won't be long before he forgets why he's there or what made him mad in the first place. For now though, the memory is all too clear as he remembers the yelling and the tears, ending with the front door slamming as he walked away without so much as a glance back.

Nick sighs and rubs his hands roughly over his face, he's tired and stressed and he took it out on her. She had every right to worry about him because after watching someone die, especially someone close to you, you tend to lose yourself and it's hard to find your way back.

But he's a grown man and he doesn't need help and when she tries to break past his walls he gets defensive, he says things he doesn't mean but that he can't take back. She asks him why he's taking it so personal and he tells her it's none of her buisness. That seems to hit a nerve. She yells and he yells back again.

After twenty minutes of pointless, loud arguing Nick's had enough and he grabs his keys off of the table. He tells her he'll be back later and she shouldn't wait up. He hears Mandy call his name but he doesn't even bother to look back.

He drives around for nearly an hour, trying to find a bar he hasn't been too yet and finally he settles on a tiny building tucked away on a corner, a rusty sign hanging above the door and a single bartender standing behind the counter.

Nick throws himself into a stool and orders his first drink. When it's placed in front of him he wastes no time, lifting it to his lips and finishing it with one quick swig. But that was nearly an hour ago and he's managed to down at least three more. He keeps to himself, waving away the young blonde woman who situates herself beside him and tries to start a conversation, because he's in no mood to talk.

When he decides he's ready to go home he takes out a few bills and tosses them onto the counter before he slips out of the barstool and into the night air. He takes out his cellphone and calls Greg, who promises to be there in fifteen minutes.

Finally his ride shows up and he slide into Greg's passenger seat without a word. He sees his friend crinkle his nose as the smell of cheap alcohol evades the inside of his car but Greg doesn't speak, he simply starts driving, casting glances in his direction every now and then to make sure he's ok.

When they pull up outside of his apartment he gets out but he doesn't move, he just stands and stares up at the house. He turns around when he hears Greg roll down the window and he sees the younger mans face soften before he speaks.

"Just talk to her man. Let her know how you feel and she'll forgive you." he watches Greg drive away, left with his words and a choice he has to make. It takes him longer than he expected but eventually he's walking up the steps, pulling the key from his pocket and shoving it into the lock.

He tries his best to be quiet just in case Mandy was asleep, but when he turns around she's standing in the hallway wearing one of his T-shirts. In the dim light of the lamp beside him he can see the dried tear tracks on her cheeks and something inside of him snaps.

He walks towards her slowly and when she doesn't shy away he pulls her into his arms and holds her close. Her arms snake around his waist and squeeze him tight as he buries her face in his chest. He wants to talk, to tell her he's sorry but all that comes out of his mouth is a sob.

Mandy doesn't worry though, she simply holds him tighter and tells him it'll be ok, because she really believes that and she'll find a way to make him see it too. When he's done crying he let's go of her and stands back, taking in her tired eyes and ruffled hair. To him she's perfect, beautiful when she doesn't even try and he realizes how much he loves her even when she has every right to hate him.

When she leans in and kisses him, everything seems to melt away, the pain, the anger, all of it disappears and it's as of they're the only two people left in the world. He rests his forehead against hers and tells her how much he loves her, and how he's sorry for everything.

She tells him it's ok, because she understands and if she didn't than she wouldn't still be there. It takes Nick a moment to collect himself and when he does he realizes how tired he is, and how exhausted she looks too.

So he takes the both of them to the bedroom and they collapse side by side. Mandy snuggles against him and rests her head on his chest. Nick wraps his arms around her, because he's absolutely terrified of losing her and there's no way he can afford that.

When sleep finally comes to him he doesn't fight it, he simply closes his eyes and holds onto her tightly, because knowing she's there is all the reassurance he needs.